One of the biggest festivals in the country is the Thimphu Tsechu. This festival is held in the capital city for three days beginning on 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar. This Tsechu is witnessed by thousands of people many of which travel from neighboring Dzongkhag (districts) to attend the festivities. The actual Tsechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods.
Thimphu Tshechu is one of the biggest festivals in the country. The festival is held in the capital city of Bhutan. The festival is held for three continuous days which begins on the 10th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. The Tshechu is witnessed by thousands of people which include the people from the Thimphu and from neighbouring Dzongkhags. The actual festival is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals.
The festival was initiated by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867. Back then the festival consisted of only a few dances being performed strictly by monks. The dances included Zhana chham and the Zhana Nga chham (Dances of the 21 Black Hats), Durdag (Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Ground), and the Tungam chham (Dance of the Terrifying Deities).
The Thimphu Tsechu underwent a change in the 1950s, when the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, introduced numerous Boed chhams (mask dances performed by lay monks). These additions added colour and variation to the festival without compromising its spiritual significance. Mask dances like the Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru), Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags) are enjoyed because they are similar to stage-theatre.
To farmers, the Tsechu is also seen as a break from farm life. It’s an occasion to celebrate, receive blessings and pray for health and happiness
Day 01: Arrive Paro and Transfer To Thimphu 65 Km 1 Hour
With your flight bringing you to the Paro International Airport, you will be received by our guide. The guide will escort you to the capital city of Bhutan that is Thimphu. On arrival, you will be checked in at your hotel followed by refreshment and oriental talk on Bhutan. Depending on your schedule, if time permits, the guide will walk you through the city exploring the traditional texture and the market products, and to immerse into the evening air.
Overnight: Hotel Termalinca or similar.
Day 02: Thimphu Festival (Full day program)
With early breakfast, the guide will lead you to witness the event “Tsechu” that will be held at the tendril thang. You will have a blissful time mingling with the locals attending the much-awaited Autumn Festival adorned with their finest attire specially made for the events. You will be seeing a series of mask dances performed by monks with ethnic instrumental rhythm and the spiritual chants. Tsechu connects and transmits the spiritual and cultural essence to all the Buddhist believers seeking the liberation from miserable samsara. Towards the evening, you will be exploring the city admiring the traditional way of life followed by the dinner.
Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu /Punakha 70 Km 3 Hours
With an early breakfast over arising, you will be travelling to Punakha. It involves crossing Dochula Pass with is at an altitude of 3150 meters above the sea level. The car will stop by at Dochula Pass, for a walk around the Druk Wangyel Chortens built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother for the peace and stability of the kingdom. From the stop point, depending on the weather condition a spectacular view of the eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen. Heading down from the pass, the road brings you to the Lamperlri Botanical Park where varieties of rhododendrons plants can be seen. Upon arriving at Lobesa, the lunchtime will be enjoyed over the scenic beauty of Sop Sokha village. Right after the meal, you will be visiting:
Punakha Dzongkha: Standing at an elevation of 1200 metres Punakha dzong served as a capital of Bhutan from 1637 to 1907 and the first national assembly was hosted in the Punakha fortress in 1953. It is the second-largest dzong in the country lies in between two flowing river Pho chhu and Mo chhu. The fortress marks the wedding of His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to Jetsun Pema dated on October 13, 2011. The Dzong also contains the remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (the unifier of Bhutan).
Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery: The nunnery also serves as the temple to the local people in the village. It is a double-storied structure, the temple was consecrated by His Holiness the Je Khenpo. The temple houses a statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig Chagtong Chetong) which heights to 14-foot tall, a statue of Guru Padmasambhava, Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of Longevity). It also houses the nunnery complex which consists of 70 rooms. The nunnery complex was initially started with 41 nuns. The Nunnery complex is known also for its meditation and the higher learning centre. For the nuns apart from religious training, they are also taught tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thanka paintings.
After the visit you will be taken back to the hotel followed by evening tea and dinner.
Overnight at Hotel in Punakha.
Day 04: Punakha /Paro 135 km 4 hours Day
Following breakfast, you will be travelling back to Paro via Dochula pass, you will enjoy the scenic beauty of nature with a stopover at Lampelri Royal botanical garden. A short documentary on Himalayan flora and fauna will enlighten you on the rich biodiversity of Bhutan and its ecological balance that has been the priority of our nature conservation society. Walking through the park listening to the bewitching calls of the birds around can be a time worth putting oneself to the ecosystem. After the restful time, you will resume your journey to Paro. On arrival check-in at hotel followed by dinner.
Overnight at hotel in Paro
Day 05: Paro sightseeing
Followed by breakfast, you will be visiting:
Kitchu Lhakhang: The temple is one of the oldest in Bhutan, originally built in the 7th century by Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gompo. The temple is believed to hold many spiritual treasures. The temple is known to be a part of a network of 12 temples arranged around Jo-khang temple at Lhasa.
Rinpung Dzong: The fortress is a Buddhist Monastery and houses many offices of the higher government officials in Paro. The site is listed as the tentative list for travellers in Bhutan by UNESCO. The Dzong is also known for the film Little Buddha in 1993. The annual ritual of the western region is performed in the fortress known as Tshechu.
National Museum: Traditionally known by the term Ta Dzong, it is an ancient watchtower which now houses hundreds of ancient Bhutanese artefacts and artworks including traditional costumes, armour, weaponry, and handcrafted implements for daily life.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 06: Paro /Taktsang Monastery
After the breakfast, the driver will take you to Ramthangka base, after which the guide will lead you to Taktsang Monastery. The monastery is also known as the Tiger’s nest. It takes 45 minutes to arrive at the tea house which is halfway to the destination. With another hour of hike, you will be reaching to the temple.
Note: There is an option for horse ride till the tea house for the individuals facing difficulty to walk.
Upon reaching the higher elevation, you will get the spectacular view of the monastery built right on the cliff. It is said that a trip to Bhutan is never completed until the site is visited. The tiger’s nest, the air itself is known for spiritual blessing while it also provides a dramatic landscape for photographer and vloggers. The trip takes about 5 hours. Right after the visit, you will walk down to the tea house for a complete vegetarian lunch. After lunch, you will walk down to the base and drive to the hotel with a refreshing dinner.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 07: Departure
You will be leaving the country on this day. After the last breakfast in Bhutan, the guide and the driver will drive you to the Airport and see you off